4 ECTS credits
120 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4016057FNR for all students in the 1st semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership Agreement
Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculty of Engineering
Department and involved faculties/organizations
Applied Physics and Photonics
Bio-Engineering Sciences
Educational team
Jo Van Ginderachter (course titular)
Nicolas Le Thomas
Activities and contact hours
36 contact hours Lecture
18 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
Course Content

The biophotonics course is split into three components: a biological, a technical and an assignment.

Before the start of the Biophotonics course, the students will be given the option to lecture a part of the biological course (lectures 1-4). If a student chooses to provide a lecture, he or she will not be required to complete the biological component of the biophotonics exam. This option is provided so that those who have previous experience of the biological component will be challenged sufficiently, whilst maintaining a level of course content that students with no previous experience in the field can feasibly manage:

1. Introduction: Necessity of biophotonics, public health, eco preservation, maritime, industrial, domestic,  medical, biotechnology, aquatic Environments
2. Micro-organisms: Bacteria, virus, protozoa, algae, phylogeny, structure and function

3. Fundamental biomolecules: nucleic acids, amino acids, DNA/RNA replication, transcription, translation, antibodies, antigens, enzymes, fatty acids, carbohydrates
4. Physiology: immune system, nervous system

5. Flow cytometry: Principle and applications, cell enumeration, discrimination, fluorescent in-situ, hybridisation, DNA probes, cell sorting advantages and disadvantages

6. PCR techniques: Hybridisation, DNA amplification, molecular probes, real time PCR

7. Microscopy: bright field microscopy, phase contrast microscopy, dark field microscopy, differential interference contrast microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy

8. Optical coherence tomography: principles, time-domain OCT, fourier domain OCT, swept-source OCT, optical properties of tissues, system aspects, applications

9. Labeled sensors: sensor requirements, ELISA tests, gold nanoparticle labels, quantum dot labels, bead-based assays, padlock probes

10. Label-free sensors: advantages, surface plasmon sensors, evanescent wave sensors, Mach-Zehnder interferometers, resonant cavities

11. Lab-on-a-chip: principles, DNA microarrays, introduction to microfluidics

Course material
Digital course material (Required) : Biophotonics, Copies of slides and notes
Additional info

Teaching Methods: Classroom lectures, lab sessions (microscopy).

Lab Sessions:
Compulsory - demonstrations of microscopy

Compulsory - students will have to write a paper consisting of 2000 words on a Biophotonic topic of their choice

Part of the lectures will be given in UGent, part of the lectures at VUB, but there is the option of teleclassing

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

Exposing the student to various basic concepts in the field of biophotonics.

The course will provide an insight into the basics of photonics and biology: Microorganisms, biomolecules, acquiring understanding in the principles behind microscopy, cytometry, PCR techniques, imaging techniques, labeled and label-free sensors, lab-on-a-chip


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Written theory exam with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

    Note: : Evaluation during examination period
    Examination Methods: written closed-book exam

Additional info regarding evaluation

Evaluation Methods: Evaluation during examination period
Examination Methods: written closed-book exam

Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Photonics Engineering: Standaard traject (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Standaard traject (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Photonics Engineering: On campus traject
Master of Photonics Engineering: Online/Digital traject
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Startplan
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Profile Radiation Physics
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Profile Biomechanics and Biomaterials
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Profile Sensors and Medical Devices
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Profile Neuro-Engineering
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Standaard traject (NIEUW)
Master of Biomedical Engineering: Profile Artificial intelligence and Digital Health